One thing my kids love to play with is felt boards. A couple of years ago, we were going to go on a 10 hour drive to my aunts house for vacation. Having three small boys, we needed ideas of how to keep them occupied so we would all survive the long drive. I started looking up ideas, and found someone that had done felt boards for their kids. I thought that was a wonderful idea, so I made some. They were a huge hit and the boys still play with them to this day. They are great for those days when you just need a little bit of quiet time.
To begin, I searched online for a template of what I wanted to make. This time, I wanted to make a gumball machine to help my three year old count.
You can either cut out the pieces of the template to trace, free hand it, or do what I do and tape the paper to a window so you can see through the felt and trace it that way.
Once you have it all traced out, cut out the pieces. If you want to sew or glue them together, make sure you leave extra around your cut outs. For example, the white piece can be a complete circle and then sew or glue the red pieces onto it. I decided making the machine could be part of the fun.
You now have a gumball machine.
To make the gumballs, pick out the colors you'd like to use. I wanted to make twenty gumballs so I grabbed five colors. Scraps of felt are perfect for this part.
Decide how big you want the gumballs. I used a soda lid to trace the circles.
Cut out all of your gumballs
Next, I printed off the numbers on a piece of card stock. This will help the numbers be a little more sturdy.
Cut out out all of your numbers. If you have a straight edge cutter, it makes this job a lot easier.
To get the numbers to stick, hot glue the numbers onto another piece of felt. The color doesn't really matter since you won't see it anyway. Be careful when doing this, hot glue on fingers is rather painful! Once they are all glued on, cut around the edges of the card stock.
You now have a felt gumball machine to help with counting!
Some other ideas you can do are:
You can make a little city or even just a road with some cars. Cut out strips of black, add some yellow lines (I glued mine on for ease of play) and cut out however many different cars and trucks you'd like.
My kids used to be really into potato heads. Cut out some brown potato shapes and then use your imagination.
I don't know about your kids, but my oldest LOVES anything space right now. That includes Star Trek. So this summer, on a day when there was "nothing to do", I decided I would make him some new felt cutouts. He was beside himself with excitement. These didn't take too long to do and you can make them as detailed as you'd like. I cut him out a yellow circle he could use as either the sun or a planet and a couple of red circles. I added a little touch to the red circles so they would look a little more planet like.
And lastly, don't forget about games. Tic Tac Toe is a great game for kids. It's easy to learn and not hard to make. Just cut out four strips and a few squares in two different colors. Now you have a game for on the go.
Felt activities are a lot of fun and you can take them anywhere! They are pretty easy to make depending on how detailed you want to get. The boards we made for in the car was just a piece of felt taped to some cardboard. You can get as fancy as you want with making a board. Sometimes my kids just play with them on the table without any felt under it at all. Use your imagination and most importantly, have fun with it!